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Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

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Gathomas88

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Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits.

First off, let's begin with a reasonable, generic (one might even say 'text-book'), definition of the term "mutilation." That can be found here.

Mutilation or maiming is an act of physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of any living body.

How does that relate to procedures like Vasectomy, Tubal Litigation, (Elective) Hysterectomy, or Castration? Well, it does so quite obviously if one actually takes the time to think, rather than blindly emote based upon social convention. Just break it down piece by piece.

Again, we are basically working with the following: "Mutilation - A physical injury causing degradation to the look or function of a living body."

Do all of these procedures cause "physical injury?" Yes. All surgery ultimately does.

Keep in mind, that is not an "opinion." It is a fact.

Cutting into living flesh is "physical injury."

Do they negatively affect the appearance and function of the body? Also yes. The nature of the "physical injury" caused by the surgery is sufficient to prevent the reproductive organs from serving their full biological function.

This is also not an "opinion," but a fact. Function has, objectively, been lost.

To address a few other, supplemental, qualifiers raised by others in that thread...

Merriam-Webster: Mutilate

Simple Definition of mutilate
: to cause severe damage to (the body of a person or animal)
: to ruin the beauty of (something) : to severely damage or spoil (something)​

Full Definition of mutilate
mu·ti·lat·edmu·ti·lat·ing
transitive verb

1
: to cut up or alter radically so as to make imperfect

2
: to cut off or permanently destroy a limb or essential part of : cripple​

(Optional #1) Is it "permanent?" For all intents and purposes, yes. It is permanent. The effects of the operation will not be reversed, under normal circumstances, unless one has further, corrective, surgery to repair the damage to the reproductive organs done by the original surgery.

Again, that is not an "opinion." That is objective fact.

(Optional #2) Is it "severe?" This question is, quite frankly, silly, because it is, by nature, subjective, and arguably not strictly necessary to the definition to begin with as such. Someone could quite easily argue that anything, no matter how seemingly major, wasn't truly "severe" given a sufficiently warped mindset if we were to take this single criteria as being of the utmost necessity some are suggesting. Medically, however, I would argue that permanently causing damage to one's reproductive organs heavy enough to prevent them from serving their biological function is sufficiently "severe" to warrant the descriptor.

After all, electively cutting off a finger (even a pinky, or just a finger tip) would be viewed by most as being "severe" enough to count as "mutilation" by any reasonable definition of the word, and that has negligible impact on either function or appearance. Why on Earth wouldn't robbing one's self of their reproductive functionality qualify as well?

Unless we're going to simply brand the entire word effectively meaningless in the name of "relativism" (to which I say, 'stop being droll,' words must also have objective meanings if they are going to mean anything at all :roll: ), surgical sterilization does, reasonably, and deductively, seem to fit the necessary criteria for being considered "severe." As such, it does also fit the technical criteria for "mutilation."

To recap, surgical sterilization fits basically all necessary criteria to fit any given definition of the word "mutilation."

It is A) a form of physical damage or alteration to the body, which B) causes harm to the form and function of that same body with no tangible medical benefit, while being both C) permanent, and D) doing so to a degree which can reasonably be called "severe."
 
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Gathomas88

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Now, at least one poster had pointed out that "mutilation" was not the most correct word to use to describe these procedures. They are, actually, correct. The most "accurate" term to describe the procedures in question wouldn't be "mutilation." It wouldn't be the first term I'd generally chose to describe them out of personal preference in everyday conversation either. That would be, of all things, "vasectomy," "tubal litigation," "(Elective) Hysterectomy," "Castration," and etca. (Go figure, right?) The next word in line would be "surgical sterilization," which is the broader category under which they all fall, and so on, and so forth.

However, that being said, what term happens to be "most" correct was never the issue of contention in that thread. It was whether the term "mutilation" could be said to apply at all. I'm sorry, but going by the text-book definition of the word, the simple fact of the matter is that it can.

Honestly, the only real roadblock to understanding that reality in the thread in question is that a lot of people down here have rather "warped," and ideological, mindsets regarding their reproductive biology (running the gambit from the truly twisted, that actually holds removing reproductive functionality is 'improving' the organ - viewing the whole subject that negatively - to the simply obstinate, which holds that personal desire and theoretical reversibility somehow change everything - they don't - to what can only really be described as being 'short bus' caliber trolling). Unfortunately, what all these mindsets fail to account for is the difference between perceived personal necessity and utility and legitimate medical necessity and utility. They are not one and the same thing.

Put bluntly, within the parameters of the argument being made here, it doesn't MATTER what the individual thinks, or what the individual wants.

Just because someone swears up and down that they need a nose job, for example, and might honestly believe that they can't live without one (they won't make money, won't find a mate, will never be happy, etca, etca), doesn't mean that it's actually true. The same is the case here.

Notions of ideological "freedom" are also irrelevant when the discussing the proper usage of a freaking word. I'm sorry, but they just are.

Somewhat inflammatory or no, the fact of the matter is that my arguments were and are rational, reasonable, and basically accurate (if somewhat technical). One simply has to put emotion aside and actually read them.

Now...

Is any of this to say that these procedures are "wrong?" Well, personally, and philosophically, I don't care for them. However, that's also not the issue at hand here. One can "mutilate" themselves in any number of ways (sterilization, amputation, extreme 'body modification,' etca) if they want. I don't care. This is just about the definition of words, and people refusing to acknowledge the obvious due to the combination of denial and poor reading comprehension, nothing more.

Take it or leave it, it needed to be said. :shrug:
 
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There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits.

First off, let's begin with a reasonable, generic (one might even say 'text-book'), definition of the term "mutilation." That can be found here.


How does that relate to procedures like Vasectomy, Tubal Litigation, (Elective) Hysterectomy, or Castration? Well, it does so quite obviously if one actually takes the time to think, rather than blindly emote based upon social convention. Just break it down piece by piece.

Again, we are basically working with the following: "Mutilation - A physical injury causing degradation to the look or function of a living body."

Do all of these procedures cause "physical injury?" Yes. All surgery ultimately does.

Keep in mind, that is not an "opinion." It is a fact.

Cutting into living flesh is "physical injury."

Do they negatively affect the appearance and function of the body? Also yes. The nature of the "physical injury" caused by the surgery is sufficient to prevent the reproductive organs from serving their full biological function.

This is also not an "opinion," but a fact. Function has, objectively, been lost.

To address a few other, supplemental, qualifiers raised by others in that thread...

Merriam-Webster: Mutilate


(Optional #1) Is it "permanent?" For all intents and purposes, yes. It is permanent. The effects of the operation will not be reversed, under normal circumstances, unless one has further, corrective, surgery to repair the damage to the reproductive organs done by the original surgery.

Again, that is not an "opinion." That is objective fact.

(Optional #2) Is it "severe?" This question is, quite frankly, silly, because it is, by nature, subjective, and arguably not strictly necessary to the definition to begin with as such. Someone could quite easily argue that anything, no matter how seemingly major, wasn't truly "severe" given a sufficiently warped mindset if we were to take this single criteria as being of the utmost necessity some are suggesting. Medically, however, I would argue that permanently causing damage to one's reproductive organs heavy enough to prevent them from serving their biological function is sufficiently "severe" to warrant the descriptor.

After all, electively cutting off a finger (even a pinky, or just a finger tip) would be viewed by most as being "severe" enough to count as "mutilation" by any reasonable definition of the word, and that has negligible impact on either function or appearance. Why on Earth wouldn't robbing one's self of their reproductive functionality qualify as well?

Unless we're going to simply brand the entire word effectively meaningless in the name "relativism" (to which I say, 'stop being droll,' words must also have objective meanings if they are going to mean anything at all :roll: ), surgical sterilization does, reasonably, and deductively, seem to fit the necessary criteria for being considered "severe." As such, it does also fit the technical criteria for "mutilation."

To recap, surgical sterilization fits basically all necessary criteria to fit any given definition of the word "mutilation."

It is A) a form of physical damage or alteration to the body, which B) causes harm to the form and function of that same body with no tangible medical benefit, while being both C) permanent, and D) doing so to a degree which can reasonably be called "severe."

Thank you for taking the time and having the patience to go through all this.

And now watch the trolls come in and completely ignore everything you've said.
 

Henrin

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I really can not believe this is even a debate. Of course vasectomy and tubal litigation are a form of mutilation. Next these people will claim that the only forms of genital mutilation in existence are castration and FGM. Sigh...
 

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When one purposefully ruins the reproductive organs where function is fine then one has mutilated them. But call it what you will, it is often the right thing to do. I am in favor of court ordered destruction of the reproductive organs of those who carry a genetic defect that greatly impairs the ability of the individual to function and which are more likely than not to be passed on to the off spring. It is the collective that ends up paying for the upkeep of the dead weight, and the collective has rights to look out for itself, Hitler be damned.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits.

First off, let's begin with a reasonable, generic (one might even say 'text-book'), definition of the term "mutilation." That can be found here.


How does that relate to procedures like Vasectomy, Tubal Litigation, (Elective) Hysterectomy, or Castration? Well, it does so quite obviously if one actually takes the time to think, rather than blindly emote based upon social convention. Just break it down piece by piece.

Again, we are basically working with the following: "Mutilation - A physical injury causing degradation to the look or function of a living body."

Do all of these procedures cause "physical injury?" Yes. All surgery ultimately does.

Keep in mind, that is not an "opinion." It is a fact.

Cutting into living flesh is "physical injury."

Do they negatively affect the appearance and function of the body? Also yes. The nature of the "physical injury" caused by the surgery is sufficient to prevent the reproductive organs from serving their full biological function.

This is also not an "opinion," but a fact. Function has, objectively, been lost.

To address a few other, supplemental, qualifiers raised by others in that thread...

Merriam-Webster: Mutilate


(Optional #1) Is it "permanent?" For all intents and purposes, yes. It is permanent. The effects of the operation will not be reversed, under normal circumstances, unless one has further, corrective, surgery to repair the damage to the reproductive organs done by the original surgery.

Again, that is not an "opinion." That is objective fact.

(Optional #2) Is it "severe?" This question is, quite frankly, silly, because it is, by nature, subjective, and arguably not strictly necessary to the definition to begin with as such. Someone could quite easily argue that anything, no matter how seemingly major, wasn't truly "severe" given a sufficiently warped mindset if we were to take this single criteria as being of the utmost necessity some are suggesting. Medically, however, I would argue that permanently causing damage to one's reproductive organs heavy enough to prevent them from serving their biological function is sufficiently "severe" to warrant the descriptor.

After all, electively cutting off a finger (even a pinky, or just a finger tip) would be viewed by most as being "severe" enough to count as "mutilation" by any reasonable definition of the word, and that has negligible impact on either function or appearance. Why on Earth wouldn't robbing one's self of their reproductive functionality qualify as well?

Unless we're going to simply brand the entire word effectively meaningless in the name of "relativism" (to which I say, 'stop being droll,' words must also have objective meanings if they are going to mean anything at all :roll: ), surgical sterilization does, reasonably, and deductively, seem to fit the necessary criteria for being considered "severe." As such, it does also fit the technical criteria for "mutilation."

To recap, surgical sterilization fits basically all necessary criteria to fit any given definition of the word "mutilation."

It is A) a form of physical damage or alteration to the body, which B) causes harm to the form and function of that same body with no tangible medical benefit, while being both C) permanent, and D) doing so to a degree which can reasonably be called "severe."

In principal i agree that sterilization is a violent violation of the body. But I thought that sterilizations can be performed in a way that can be reversed. Also, there is a health benefit in not making others or becoming pregnant in the free and uninhibited pursuit of fun.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

For the purposes of this conversation we can probably say it is safe to call surgical sterilization a form of mutilation... the question is why do we need that distinction?
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Thank you for taking the time and having the patience to go through all this.

And now watch the trolls come in and completely ignore everything you've said.

What we call, "Breaking it down, Barney-style" in the Military. :mrgreen:

Yes, you are probably correct. Hopefully, the lower IQ specimens will simply be scared away by all the text. I won't count on it, however. Lol

When one purposefully ruins the reproductive organs where function is fine then one has mutilated them. But call it what you will, it is often the right thing to do. I am in favor of court ordered destruction of the reproductive organs of those who carry a genetic defect that greatly impairs the ability of the individual to function and which are more likely than not to be passed on to the off spring. It is the collective that ends up paying for the upkeep of the dead weight, and the collective has rights to look out for itself, Hitler be damned.

You're certainly entitled to that opinion, and I never claimed otherwise. The bolded is all I was specifically seeking to address, however.

Going into the rest would drag this out a thousand pages. Lol

In principal i agree that sterilization is a violent violation of the body. But I thought that sterilizations can be performed in a way that can be reversed. Also, there is a health benefit in not making others or becoming pregnant in the free and uninhibited pursuit of fun.

A) A lot of things can, theoretically, be "reversed." That doesn't mean they are not a form of "mutilation."

Giving one's self a fork tongue, for example, is still mutilation, even though you could conceivably get it sown back together at some later point. The organ remains functionally mutilated until actually repaired.

B) "Uninhibited fun" is not a medical prerogative, and neither is avoiding pregnancy, strictly speaking. They are both personal prerogatives, born of want, rather than need.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

For the purposes of this conversation we can probably say it is safe to call surgical sterilization a form of mutilation... the question is why do we need that distinction?

It was relevant within the context of the thread mentioned, where many were vehemently denying that the term was ever appropriate, or even claiming that such procedures actually constituted a "medical benefit," and "improvement" to the organs in question.

This is the Abortion Forum, remember? Fetuses - apparently - "rape" people down here all the time, and birth is commonly viewed as the most horrible thing since the dinner scene from Alien. Lol
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits.

First off, let's begin with a reasonable, generic (one might even say 'text-book'), definition of the term "mutilation." That can be found here.

Mutilation seems to be a word thrown around when someone's trying to emotionally impact someone's viewpoint. It's a harsh word and concept and implies lack of consent (etc). But doesn't supplant what true mutilation is VS what true medical procedures are.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Mutilation seems to be a word thrown around when someone's trying to emotionally impact someone's viewpoint. It's a harsh word and concept and implies lack of consent (etc). But doesn't supplant what true mutilation is VS what true medical procedures are.

What's the difference? The fact of the matter is that it's - technically - both.

It simply happens to be a form of medical mutilation some people like and want. If so, that is their prerogative. :shrug:
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Mutilation seems to be a word thrown around when someone's trying to emotionally impact someone's viewpoint. It's a harsh word and concept and implies lack of consent (etc). But doesn't supplant what true mutilation is VS what true medical procedures are.

Implies lack of consent and/or negative opinion of extreme modification
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Implies lack of consent and/or negative opinion of extreme modification

Again, in this case, it's simply the black and white (literally, 'black and white' as in 'written in black ink, on white paper, on a dictionary page') definition of the word. :shrug:
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Again, in this case, it's simply the black and white (literally, 'black and white' as in 'written in black ink, on white paper, on a dictionary page') definition of the word. :shrug:

Do you deny that people pick words to try to push the argument in the direction that they want it to go, to frame the conversation in terms that they think help them to get what they want? Often this is done with emotionally loaded terms, for instance I cant think of "mutilation" without the picture of a knife cutting into good flesh. There are a lot of words and terms that could be used to talk about the practice of desentizing female genitalia, but the feminists picked 'mutilation" because they want this practice to be viewed as extreme as well as offensive....and they want us to picture in our mind a knife cutting into good flesh as we debate the topic, this pushes us where they want us to go.

My inclination when ever I see this being done is to change the term to something less loaded, and to refuse to revert back to the terms that I am told to use. I control my mouth, I dont let others do it.

I dont think you get away here trying to be a cool and clinical about definitions, because in reality those who use these kinds of words are anything but cool and clinical, they are hot and out to manipulate.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Mutilation seems to be a word thrown around when someone's trying to emotionally impact someone's viewpoint. It's a harsh word and concept and implies lack of consent (etc). But doesn't supplant what true mutilation is VS what true medical procedures are.

How does it imply lack of consent? Nothing in the definition of the word deals with consent nor does anything about what it speaks towards depend on consent. It can be done to a consenting party or a non-consenting party. Consent has nothing to do with something being mutilation or not.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation&quo

It was relevant within the context of the thread mentioned, where many were vehemently denying that the term was ever appropriate, or even claiming that such procedures actually constituted a "medical benefit," and "improvement" to the organs in question.

This is the Abortion Forum, remember? Fetuses - apparently - "rape" people down here all the time, and birth is commonly viewed as the most horrible thing since the dinner scene from Alien. Lol

I understand the Abortion Forum overall gets fairly heated and often devolves quickly. I do not think I was an active participant in that thread in question.

My issue (strictly within the framework of this thread and topic *only*) is I can see surgical sterilization being a "benefit" because of some life choice by that person, and still be a form of mutilation in the context of these definitions.

A couple of scenarios come to mind.

For instance, an older woman who has perhaps been married but has 2-3 kids and has made the personal choice to no longer have any new children in the traditional biological sense. So she goes in because of a life choice and makes an "improvement" in her mind in the form of a Partial Hysterectomy that boils down to a medical procedure that is definitely a mutilation. I do not see the issue really, she made a choice that does not seem immoral or unethical even though the definition of mutilation has an inherent negative context associated with it.

Another for instance, an older man who for whatever reason has decided that he does not want to have more children (or not at all, for some reason.) So he goes in for a Vasectomy that he determines is a life choice and "improvement" based on his goals for his life, which is also a medical procedure that is definitely a mutilation as well. Same thing, not really an immoral or unethical decision really but one that has benefit to that life choice.

So really and since we are still in the Abortion Forum, what are we risking here now that we have established a life choice "benefit" can also be a mutilation? The thinking to me seems suspect.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation&a mp;amp;a mp;amp;a mp;amp;q uo

Do you deny that people pick words to try to push the argument in the direction that they want it to go, to frame the conversation in terms that they think help them to get what they want? Often this is done with emotionally loaded terms, for instance I cant think of "mutilation" without the picture of a knife cutting into good flesh. There are a lot of words and terms that could be used to talk about the practice of desentizing female genitalia, but the feminists picked 'mutilation" because they want this practice to be viewed as extreme as well as offensive....and they want us to picture in our mind a knife cutting into good flesh as we debate the topic, this pushes us where they want us to go.

My inclination when ever I see this being done is to change the term to something less loaded, and to refuse to revert back to the terms that I am told to use. I control my mouth, I dont let others do it.

I dont think you get away here trying to be a cool and clinical about definitions, because in reality those who use these kinds of words are anything but cool and clinical, they are hot and out to manipulate.

In fairness, it was a primarily semantic debate, and semantic debates are pretty much always obtuse in the extreme on either one side or the other.

I simply happen to know for an absolute fact that I'm right here, and that a lot of my opponents from the previous thread weren't even trying to address the issue on any sort of rational basis. I created this secondary thread - "Breaking it down, Barney-style" - to address that.

You are correct, however. I did originally use the more forceful term to make a point. In the first thread, I made the point that sex was not purely recreational, because the only way to truly neutralize its procreative elements are artificial, often harmful, and sometimes even represent acts of self-mutilation. Someone, of course, came back with "Nu-uh!," to which I responded, "Technically... Ya-uh," and then it just ballooned into a whole giant thing from there as more and more spazzy people piled in who either weren't willing to actually read what was being written, or only wanted to troll for its own sake.

There's certainly room for nuance here. Don't get me wrong. However, when I'm right, I'm right, and I'm not going to have anyone tell me otherwise.

By the text-book definition of the word, the term fits. :shrug:

I understand the Abortion Forum overall gets fairly heated and often devolves quickly. I do not think I was an active participant in that thread in question.

My issue (strictly within the framework of this thread and topic *only*) is I can see surgical sterilization being a "benefit" because of some life choice by that person, and still be a form of mutilation in the context of these definitions.

A couple of scenarios come to mind.

For instance, an older woman who has perhaps been married but has 2-3 kids and has made the personal choice to no longer have any new children in the traditional biological sense. So she goes in because of a life choice and makes an "improvement" in her mind in the form of a Partial Hysterectomy that boils down to a medical procedure that is definitely a mutilation. I do not see the issue really, she made a choice that does not seem immoral or unethical even though the definition of mutilation has an inherent negative context associated with it.

Another for instance, an older man who for whatever reason has decided that he does not want to have more children (or not at all, for some reason.) So he goes in for a Vasectomy that he determines is a life choice and "improvement" based on his goals for his life, which is also a medical procedure that is definitely a mutilation as well. Same thing, not really an immoral or unethical decision really but one that has benefit to that life choice.

So really and since we are still in the Abortion Forum, what are we risking here now that we have established a life choice "benefit" can also be a mutilation? The thinking to me seems suspect.

Yes, it can certainly be a perceived personal benefit. I never denied that.

However, that only really puts it in the same general category as something like cosmetic surgery. It's not like it's filling some dire medical need that a person can't live without.

That's what makes it an elective "mutilation," rather than the "objective" medical benefit some were claiming.

In any case, however, yes. I would conceded that these kinds of procedures can be both a (perceived, at least) personal benefit, and a technical form of "mutilation." The former is the subjective value the recipient attaches to the procedure, and the latter is simply an objectively accurate (if tertiary) description, given the definition of the word in question.
 
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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

How does it imply lack of consent? Nothing in the definition of the word deals with consent nor does anything about what it speaks towards depend on consent. It can be done to a consenting party or a non-consenting party. Consent has nothing to do with something being mutilation or not.

I was just addressing how some people seem to use it when trying for an emotional argument.
 

OrphanSlug

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutila

Yes, it can certainly be a perceived personal benefit. I never denied that.

However, that only really puts it in the same general category as something like cosmetic surgery. It's not like it's filling some dire medical need that a person can't live without.

That's what makes it an elective "mutilation," rather than the "objective" medical benefit some were claiming.

In any case, however, yes. I would conceded that these kinds of procedures can be both a (perceived, at least) personal benefit, and a technical form of "mutilation." The former is the subjective value the recipient attaches to the procedure, and the latter is simply an objectively accurate (if tertiary) description, given the definition of the word in question.

Fair points.

Now consider Uterine Fibroids or Endometriosis, which depending on circumstances and/or severity may lead someone to obtain a Partial Hysterectomy. Not necessarily life threatening and is not something in the category of cosmetic surgery either, but is mutilation by the definition. Medical benefit in some terms, but a woman might be more inclined to do it knowing there are secondary life choice benefits.

The point is we take a dangerous path in the suggestion that we need some standard here based on "medical benefit" or personal live choice benefit. I get having a general argument over what is and is not a mutilation, my concern is a bunch of us creating standards based on our own perceptions of ethical and moral decision making in this area.

No matter what others claim being this definition and whatever else to make a point, we all terminate at the same point. What next, are we looking for someone to create a standard for obtaining an elective (for the most part I would guess) procedure?
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits.

First off, let's begin with a reasonable, generic (one might even say 'text-book'), definition of the term "mutilation." That can be found here.


How does that relate to procedures like Vasectomy, Tubal Litigation, (Elective) Hysterectomy, or Castration? Well, it does so quite obviously if one actually takes the time to think, rather than blindly emote based upon social convention. Just break it down piece by piece.

Again, we are basically working with the following: "Mutilation - A physical injury causing degradation to the look or function of a living body."

Do all of these procedures cause "physical injury?" Yes. All surgery ultimately does.

Keep in mind, that is not an "opinion." It is a fact.

Cutting into living flesh is "physical injury."

Do they negatively affect the appearance and function of the body? Also yes. The nature of the "physical injury" caused by the surgery is sufficient to prevent the reproductive organs from serving their full biological function.

This is also not an "opinion," but a fact. Function has, objectively, been lost.

To address a few other, supplemental, qualifiers raised by others in that thread...

Merriam-Webster: Mutilate


(Optional #1) Is it "permanent?" For all intents and purposes, yes. It is permanent. The effects of the operation will not be reversed, under normal circumstances, unless one has further, corrective, surgery to repair the damage to the reproductive organs done by the original surgery.

Again, that is not an "opinion." That is objective fact.

(Optional #2) Is it "severe?" This question is, quite frankly, silly, because it is, by nature, subjective, and arguably not strictly necessary to the definition to begin with as such. Someone could quite easily argue that anything, no matter how seemingly major, wasn't truly "severe" given a sufficiently warped mindset if we were to take this single criteria as being of the utmost necessity some are suggesting. Medically, however, I would argue that permanently causing damage to one's reproductive organs heavy enough to prevent them from serving their biological function is sufficiently "severe" to warrant the descriptor.

After all, electively cutting off a finger (even a pinky, or just a finger tip) would be viewed by most as being "severe" enough to count as "mutilation" by any reasonable definition of the word, and that has negligible impact on either function or appearance. Why on Earth wouldn't robbing one's self of their reproductive functionality qualify as well?

Unless we're going to simply brand the entire word effectively meaningless in the name of "relativism" (to which I say, 'stop being droll,' words must also have objective meanings if they are going to mean anything at all :roll: ), surgical sterilization does, reasonably, and deductively, seem to fit the necessary criteria for being considered "severe." As such, it does also fit the technical criteria for "mutilation."

To recap, surgical sterilization fits basically all necessary criteria to fit any given definition of the word "mutilation."

It is A) a form of physical damage or alteration to the body, which B) causes harm to the form and function of that same body with no tangible medical benefit, while being both C) permanent, and D) doing so to a degree which can reasonably be called "severe."

Why would someone use mutilate if there are better words to express the thought and a dictionary/thesaurus is at hand?
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

There was some controversy in a different thread regarding whether or not medical procedures performed with the intent to sterilize could accurately be described as falling under the auspices of physical "mutilation." A number of "arguments" - and I use that term loosely, none of them were actually good - were presented. I will refute all of those arguments here, and illustrate the reasons why the term, LOGICALLY, fits. (snip for length)

Problem is, all of these terms are subjective. Who decides what is a degradation of appearance or function? It IS relative whether you like it or not. We're not discussing whether the earth goes around the sun. We're discussing, basically, whether sterilization is "negative." That's completely subjective. "Negative" is a human judgement, not a law of physics.

And if you're going to pretend that anything resulting in blood is inherently bad, well, then I suppose we should just get rid of most of medicine, from vaccines to heart surgery. Because "things causing blood are bad" is all you have left, once you've lost the "'negative' is an objective term" side of the debate.

And it quite obviously isn't an objective term.

Many body modifications people the world over do happily are considered "mutilation" when done non-consensually.

Female genital mutilation is only mutilation when done nonconsensually. Plastic surgeons offer many of the same procedures.

As far as elective sterilization, I'd say the same applies. To the person being sterilized, it's definitely an upgrade of function, not a degradation, and usually leaves almost no physical trace at all.

You're aware I had this done a few years ago. Let's use another example: one you're considering having done.

I've talked a bit about my eye surgery, and we've discussed some of the trade-offs.

Having vision correction objectively leaves you with functionally more vulnerable eyes than you had before. Even PRK. You will probably be more prone to dryness and vision aberration, and possibly worsened night vision. All of these side effects are basically expected. It's only a matter of how severe they will be. I have all of them, to a very small degree.

However, I am 20/15. It's worth it to me. My acuity is great and my side effects are minimal. I keep eye drops on my night stand now for hazy spring mornings, but otherwise I don't notice much. But still, it's there. My eyes are definitely not as robust as they were pre-correction.

I would say my vision correction caused WAY more damage than my tubal. You know what happened after my tubal? Absolutely nothing. And on top of doing nothing to worsen my day-to-day physical condition, it also allowed me to live my life without needing to constantly tamper with my body in ways that may eventually make me sick, either through allergy or hormonal intolerance, or alternative damage myself physically and mentally through unwanted pregnancies.

If you're going to pretend "mutilation" is somehow an objective term, then I'd say the eye surgery is much more "mutilation" than the tubal is. The tubal has no side effects. The eye surgery has many. Yes, the eye surgery improves vision in one sense, but it also worsens it in several others that are, arguably, just as important. And tubals have their plus sides too. Did you know having a tubal lowers a woman's risk of ovarian cancer? And that's to say nothing of all the risks that a tubal helps avoid that are associated with unwanted pregnancy.

Both are permanent decisions, but I give more warnings about eye surgery than I do about sterilization. Eye surgery is more dangerous, and the reasons people have eye surgery are usually much less compelling. I got eye surgery because glasses annoy me and contacts were always scratchy for me. But I got a tubal -- which was much safer than the eye surgery -- to prevent harm to my body, essentially.

So, how about it? Still want to "mutilate" your eyes with PRK?

"Negative" is a subjective term. A storm may be "negative" if you live on the bank and it floods, but 2 miles inland it's "positive" because the crops are thirsty. It's the same storm either way, with two different value judgements attached to it.

To someone wishing to be sterile, being sterilized is most definitely positive, and they definitely experience a functional improvement, both short and long term.

I would say "mutilation" is to "modification" as "rape" is to "sex."
 
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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutila

Fair points.

Now consider Uterine Fibroids or Endometriosis, which depending on circumstances and/or severity may lead someone to obtain a Partial Hysterectomy. Not necessarily life threatening and is not something in the category of cosmetic surgery either, but is mutilation by the definition. Medical benefit in some terms, but a woman might be more inclined to do it knowing there are secondary life choice benefits.

That would largely depend on the extent to which the condition is debilitating enough to actually warrant such an operation. Again, the key criteria here is changing the body in such a way as to limit or remove functionality.

If the functionality was never really there to begin with, and was simply causing problems elsewhere in the body, than removing it is legitimately justifiable on the grounds of medical necessity, rather than just personal desire and preference. You could arguably say the same about doing so as a pre-cautionary measure, though the case isn't quite as solid.

It is worth noting, however, that basically none of this applies to an operation like Vasectomy. There really is no specific medical condition it is meant to address. It just ensures that a man's sperm remains separate from his ejaculate, by cutting the tube the former would have to travel along to mix with the latter.

The point is we take a dangerous path in the suggestion that we need some standard here based on "medical benefit" or personal live choice benefit. I get having a general argument over what is and is not a mutilation, my concern is a bunch of us creating standards based on our own perceptions of ethical and moral decision making in this area.

No matter what others claim being this definition and whatever else to make a point, we all terminate at the same point. What next, are we looking for someone to create a standard for obtaining an elective (for the most part I would guess) procedure?

I haven't suggested any sort of limited access based on the definitions in question here. People can do what they want, as far as I'm concerned.

I could see it potentially coming up in the context of what procedures insurance, or government, should be required to pay for, however. Where that's concerned, I feel they should remain classified as "elective" unless pressing medical need presents itself.

Without the need, it's really no different than plastic surgery. People need to pay for that kind of crap by themselves.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation&q uot;

Problem is, all of these terms are subjective. Who decides what is a degradation of appearance or function? It IS relative whether you like it or not. We're not discussing whether the earth goes around the sun. We're discussing, basically, whether sterilization is "negative." That's completely subjective. "Negative" is a human judgement, not a law of physics.

And if you're going to pretend that anything resulting in blood is inherently bad, well, then I suppose we should just get rid of most of medicine, from vaccines to heart surgery. Because "things causing blood are bad" is all you have left, once you've lost the "'negative' is an objective term" side of the debate.

And it quite obviously isn't an objective term.

Many body modifications people the world over do happily are considered "mutilation" when done non-consensually.

Female genital mutilation is only mutilation when done nonconsensually. Plastic surgeons offer many of the same procedures.

As far as elective sterilization, I'd say the same applies. To the person being sterilized, it's definitely an upgrade of function, not a degradation, and usually leaves almost no physical trace at all.

You're aware I had this done a few years ago. Let's use another example: one you're considering having done.

I've talked a bit about my eye surgery, and we've discussed some of the trade-offs.

Having vision correction objectively leaves you with functionally more vulnerable eyes than you had before. Even PRK. You will probably be more prone to dryness and vision aberration, and possibly worsened night vision. All of these side effects are basically expected. It's only a matter of how severe they will be. I have all of them, to a very small degree.

...

To someone wishing to be sterile, being sterilized is most definitely positive, and they definitely experience a functional improvement, both short and long term.

I would say "mutilation" is to "modification" as "rape" is to "sex."

First off, "mutilation" and "body modification" (in the modern parlance) are basically two words for the same thing. The word "mutilate" comes from the same Latin family of root words as "mutate," or "mutable." It already basically means to "modify" or "change" something. It simply carries more negative connotations than the others because its particular root word, "mutilare," literally meant to change something by "cutting away" pieces of the whole, ostensibly with a knife, or the end state of such an act. "Body modification" is simply a more positive, "PC," euphemism for the same concept, cooked up in recent decades by people who changed their bodies in those ways deliberately, and want to try and subsequently own it as being a positive.

While that's fine, I suppose, it really doesn't render usage of the first word functionally improper either. It just makes it less than polite, in certain company.

You're inching dangerously close to the "so steeped in needless relativism that the word essentially has no meaning" territory I mentioned as being "droll" in my original post. To the contrary, under your argument, the procedures under discussion, could be - at best - viewed as simultaneously falling under both terms, depending on how one wants to look at them.

Secondly, the nature of injurious change to the body is only arguably "subjective" (frankly, even then, I'd posit that there are reasonable limits) when one refers to appearance. What we're primarily referring to here isn't appearance, but function. Objectively, a certain portion of the functionality of the organ in question - in some cases, even it's primary functionality, in point of fact - has been harmed, if not full-on removed outright, for no equivalent gain anywhere else, where surgical sterilizations have been performed. There's no way around that.

No, from a medical and biological perspective, personal preference, or personal belief, really aren't enough to off-set that loss. I'm really not sure where you got the criteria that bodily harm be strictly "non-consensual" to be considered "mutilation" either. I haven't seen such a thing mentioned in any definition of the word so far.

There is also, objectively, a bit of a difference between a procedure being meant to improve performance and function in a certain area simply happening to have side effects elsewhere (the positive effects are why the procedure is held to be justifiable even in spite of the injury done by the surgery and its after effects), and a procedure only existing in the first place in order to explicitly destroy a certain bodily function in the name of personal, not medical, convenience. They are not really equivalent in either intent or method.
 
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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation"

Mutilation seems to be a word thrown around when someone's trying to emotionally impact someone's viewpoint. It's a harsh word and concept and implies lack of consent (etc). But doesn't supplant what true mutilation is VS what true medical procedures are.

And it is not a specific word. If you say "I went to the doctor to get mutilated" - who would know what you meant.
 

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Re: Surgical Sterilization and the definition of "Mutilation&amp

First off, "mutilation" and "body modification" (in the modern parlance) are basically two words for the same thing. The word "mutilate" comes from the same Latin family of root words as "mutate," or "mutable." It already basically means to "modify" or "change" something. It simply carries more negative connotations than the others because its particular root word, "mutilare," literally meant to change something by "cutting away" pieces of the whole, ostensibly with a knife, or the end state of such an act. "Body modification" is simply a more positive, "PC," euphemism for the same concept, cooked up in recent decades by people who changed their bodies in those ways deliberately, and want to try and subsequently own it as being a positive.

While that's fine, I suppose, it really doesn't render usage of the first word functionally improper either. It just makes it less than polite, in certain company.

You're inching dangerously close to the "so steeped in needless relativism that the word essentially has no meaning" territory I mentioned as being "droll" in my original post. To the contrary, under your argument, the procedures under discussion, could be - at best - viewed as simultaneously falling under both terms, depending on how one wants to look at them.

Secondly, the nature of injurious change to the body is only arguably "subjective" (frankly, even then, I'd posit that there are reasonable limits) when one refers to appearance. What we're primarily referring to here isn't appearance, but function. Objectively, a certain portion of the functionality of the organ in question - in some cases, even it's primary functionality, in point of fact - has been harmed, if not full-on removed outright, for no equivalent gain anywhere else, where surgical sterilizations have been performed. There's no way around that.

No, from a medical and biological perspective, personal preference, or personal belief, really aren't enough to off-set that loss. I'm really not sure where you got the criteria that bodily harm be strictly "non-consensual" to be considered "mutilation" either. I haven't seen such a thing mentioned in any definition of the word so far.

There is also, objectively, a bit of a difference between a procedure being meant to improve performance and function in a certain area simply happening to have side effects elsewhere (the positive effects are why the procedure is held to be justifiable even in spite of the injury done by the surgery and its after effects), and a procedure only existing in the first place in order to explicitly destroy a certain bodily function in the name of personal, not medical, convenience. They are not really equivalent in either intent or method.

No. All forms of body modifications have had their own terms which are clearly recognized as NOT mutilation since literally forever. We just came up with a term that encompasses all of them since, in the West, it tends to be the same establishments that perform multiple different types of body modification. It's easier to have one term.

Well, it IS relative. It DOES potentially fall under either term, depending on circumstance, just like sex versus rape.

It's still subjective even judging by function. There's two ways we can judge function. One is human perception, and the other is nature (biological, as you say).

An individual human's perception of function is subjective. According to me, my reproductive organs function BETTER now that I'm fixed.

And nature? Well, nature doesn't give a ****. Nature has wiped out nearly all life on earth multiple times. Every creature nature has ever created eventually dies out because it was stops functioning. There is no "value" to function in nature.

I've always found it hilarious when people say something "goes against nature." Nature is nonsentient, and it doesn't care. There is nothing to go against.

Like I said, to the person being willingly fixed, there is no loss. It actually has much more benefit with much less harm than vision correction does, in many ways. Yet I bet you don't think of that as mutilation, since you want it, and it doesn't get you riled up about your politics.

Sterilization in fact prevents numerous types of harm, from both other forms of contraception and childbearing. It even decreases certain cancer risks.

But even if it didn't, it still isn't "mutilation" when done consensually. Humans judge function however they want, and nature doesn't care.
 
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